There’s a liquor ban in the city starting midnight and I know I should go out while it’s almost 9PM to make use of the time to drink but I just have to get this out. The saddest I’ve ever been was this: I took him out drinking and when the sun rose I walked him to the terminal. We were singing Death Cab for Cutie and it felt like I was watching a boat float away from me, idly floating into the horizon. We started singing, “& I do believe it’s true that there are roads left in both of our shoes, and if the silence takes you then I hope it takes me too. And brown eyes I hold you near, ‘cause you’re the only sound I want to hear, a melody softly soaring through my atmosphere,” and the people around us were slowly starting their weekend, cold friday night turning into warm saturday morning. “Where soul meets body,” I hummed under my breath.
When we go to the train station we stood in front of the turnstiles and I felt myself desperately trying to fight my face—I couldn’t get them under control. I just wanted to hug him so tight and run my fingers in his hair and give him a long, long kiss so he would never forget who I was and I knew my face was showing just that. The walls had been broken. He looked at me with the softest eyes and told me, “I’ll come back and see you,” drawing in a breath, “before the world ends.” I could only dumbly nod and softly say, before the world ends. I think this was the first day I realized I was in love with him.
I wanted to cry and my legs were going soft, like chicken bones turning to jelly after boiling for hours, like quicksand in my throat. Stifling back sobs are never my thing—in fact sobbing isn’t really my thing. He walked away and went into the turnstiles. And I stood there. In my head I wanted a million different scenarios played. I just watched him walk away, one tentative look in my direction. I just stood there, hands in pockets and smiled a little. My eyes were beginning to sting. It felt like he wasn’t going to come back.
As I walked away a song went past my tongue, “& so you sailed away, into a grey sky morning,” as I lit a cigarette.
The night before we went into a 7-11, bought hotdogs and milk tea in plastic bottles to keep the alcohol at bay. When I stepped into my apartment the bottles were still there. I lay on the floor staring at the ceiling. My brother gets home and looks at me, proceeds to try to clean up. I watch him as he takes the bottles. “Please don’t,” I tell him. “Don’t what?” he asks. “Don’t throw those away, just don’t,” I start, not looking at him, hands reaching for the pack of cigarettes on the floor. He shrugs and puts them down, sits beside me. “So…” he starts. “He’s gone away,” I said, “and I don’t think he’s coming back.” We stay silent for the rest of the day.
I want to kick myself in the head for being this weak, but sometimes these things, we can’t help it. The city feels emptier now, but only because the person I wanted to share it with isn’t here anymore.
if I never see you again
I will always carry you
on my fingertips
and at brain edges
and in centers
of what I am of
- From Lorrie Moore’s “Anagrams”